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Royal Damask at the TextielMuseum

A Royal Damask will be presented to King Willem Alexander and Queen Máxima at the TextielMuseum in Tilburg on the occasion of the first King’s Day in the Netherlands. 

By Editor / 25-04-2014

On Saturday 26 April, Director of the TextielMuseum Errol van de Werdt and artist Margot Berkman, together with major de Graaf of Amstelveen, will present the monarchs with a set of Koningsdamast (Royal Damask).

The royal tablecloth is executed in 100% linen and has been designed by Margot Berkman on one of the museum’s computer-controlled weaving machines at the TextielLab. The result of this collaboration demonstrates the importance of sacred tradition in the Netherlands. 

The creation of a memorial damask is a time-honoured tradition in the Netherlands. Damask tablecloths, shiny white with woven patterns, have been valuable gifts to the Royals for centuries. These gifts were produced in the Netherlands with great care and were extremely valuable as they were labour-intensive to make. Each special occasion such as a birth, wedding, jubilee or crowning called for new and beautiful table linen. On rare occasions this table linen was created solely for the House of Orange but usually it was also for sale to the public. 

The TextielMuseum is a symbol of this tradition as it offers designers and artists the chance to develop contemporary designs within the bustling TextielLab. A beautiful linen set of Royal Damask, in custom dimensions, will be handed to the Royal Couple by the TextielMuseum and Margot Berkman. 

The symbolic elements used by Berkman before in her ornamental fences for the King’s Tree, can be found in the shiny white damask. Inspired by the transparency of old lace from Queen Wilhelmina’s collection, but also by the calligraphy in medieval manuscripts, Berkman created a design with patterns that refer to the history of the House of Orange. The orange tree with it’s fruit and orange blossom is a symbol for the House of Orange and represents steadiness, immortality and a sense of connection. Other symbols referring to the monarchy can also be found in the table linen such as a crown and scepter.  

Hidden within the middle motif is the head of a lion, a reference to the Dutch national coat-of-arms. There are even small suns to be found, a symbol of the Inca Sun in Argentina’s national coat-of-arms, the native country of Queen Máxima. 

Verborgen in het middenmotief is de kop van een leeuw te ontwaren, refererend aan het Nederlandse rijkswapen. Als strooimotiefjes zijn ook zonnen ingeweven. Zij grijpen terug op de Incazon uit het wapen van Argentinië, het vaderland van koningin Máxima.